Labor Secretary Robert Reich told employers to keep their hands off employees' 401(k) contributions. In a news conference today, Mr. Reich said there is no excuse for employers who use employee contributions for other purposes.
``This money belongs to the employees,'' he said.
Mr. Reich launched a campaign today against 401(k) fraud, noting that 310 companies are currently under investigation for allegedly using employee contributions for other purposes. So far, the department has retrieved $3.5 million. He wouldn't name the companies.
Foreign equities will be increased to 35% of assets from 25% at the C$480 million (U.S. $355 million) University of Toronto endowment. No decision has been made on how to allocate the additional assets. Neil Dobbs, secretary of the investment committee, said the fund could give more money to its two existing foreign stock managers, or could allow one of its Canadian balanced managers to invest more abroad. The decision was made following an asset allocation study. No other information was provided.
Futures trading on the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index reached record levels of open interest yesterday, said Ellen Resnick, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where GSCI contracts trade. Open interest as of the close Nov. 27 was 18,132 contracts, representing about $859 million worth of transactions outstanding, Ms. Resnick said. The previous record was set Nov. 21 with open interest of 16,097 contracts. Open interest is the number of contracts left outstanding at the end of a day's trading, and is an indicator of investment activity and liquidity.
The $75 million Lowell (Mass.) Retirement System hired QCI Asset Management to manage stock distributions from venture capital funds, said James T. Kennedy, chairman of the board. Under state law, the system can only hold stock for 60 days after it is distributed by venture capital funds. Mr. Sullivan estimated QCI could have as much as $5 million by the end of next year.
Michael Baker Corp., Coraopolis, Pa., hired Putnam Investments to provide fully bundled, daily-valued services for its $40 million 401(k)/ESOP plan. Eight diversified Putnam funds, plus a company stock option, will be the plan's new investment options. Putnam will perform record keeping, administration, trust, employee communication and investment education services, said Donald J. Nelson, executive vice president-communications and corporate development.
Putnam replaces Dreyfus Retirement Services. Hewitt assisted.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce selected John Hancock Funds to provide a turnkey defined contribution plan program for its 2,000 members, one of the first such programs offered by a chamber of commerce. Members will have access to all John Hancock mutual funds, with daily-valued record keeping, trust and administrative services, employee education and communications and a toll-free voice response system. Mark Wilson, a spokesman for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said that by combining the assets of many small plans, member companies will have access to Hancock's funds without paying a front-end sales charge.